Buffalo Bills star Stefon Diggs was absent as the team kicked off OTAs on May 23, causing some concern among fans and prompting criticism from analysts amid a turbulent offseason for the All-Pro receiver.
Diggs was not among the players reporting to the team facility in Orchard Park on Tuesday for the optional practice, and head coach Sean McDermott confirmed to reporters that he would not be showing up. Diggs had also been absent for team workouts last month, though Bills general manager Brandon Beane said there was no reason for alarm and no hints of animosity between Diggs and the team.
Still, his absence led to some worry among fans and speculation from insiders about whether there could be any lingering ill feelings from the abrupt conclusion to last season.
‘Reason to Wonder’ About Stefon Diggs: Analyst
Diggs had caused some drama at the end of last season with an outburst on the sidelines as the Bills were dismantled by the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs. He sparked more concern with a series of cryptic posts on social media and some very public recruiting from his brother, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, encouraging Stefon to join him in Dallas.
While some Bills fans expressed concern that Diggs did not return to Buffalo for the start of OTAs, others pointed out that his absence was not an anomaly. Reporter Nate Geary of WGR 550 noted that Diggs also did not participate in offseason activities in previous years, not showing up until mandatory mini-camp. Diggs was still selected as a team captain, Geary noted.
But Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio questioned whether Diggs could be growing distant from the team, which was a knock on the wide receiver from his time with the Minnesota Vikings.
“There’s still reason to wonder whether Diggs is truly happy with the Bills. He became unhappy with the Vikings, just two seasons after giving Minnesota one of its most exciting sports moments ever,” Florio wrote.
Florio added that Diggs could be hurting himself by missing out on an important opportunity to build chemistry with his teammates, especially after the team made changes to the offense.
“The good news from Diggs’s absence is that it gives others a chance to develop into viable options in the passing game,” Florio wrote. “That’s something the Bills badly need. The bad news is he’s losing opportunities to get himself ready to go for what will be the team’s next run at trying to get back to the Super Bowl, for the first time in 30 years.”
Bills Not Concerned About Stefon Diggs
Whatever concern there may be among fans or analysts does not appear to stretch to the team’s leadership. In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” on May 1, Beane said he was not worried about Diggs and confident that he was working hard to stay in shape on his own this offseason.
“I think we’re in really good shape there and I know he’ll — at the right time — get here and join and be ready to roll for the season,” Beane said.